Week 7 Football Pick’em Contest Strategy & Advice (2022)

Week 7 of the 2022 NFL season is here, and we have several value favorites showing up in your pick'em pools.

Can the Jaguars get back on the right track in Week 7? (Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire)

Week 7 in NFL pick’em contests has arrived.

In these columns, we explore strategies to maximize your edge in NFL and college football pick’em contests. We also provide some of the rationale behind picks potentially recommended by our premium product.

We plan to periodically update to this post through Sunday of Week 7, so check back for updates. Here’s what’s available now:

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Tuesday 10/18

NFL Week 7 Early Value Picks

Below are some picks initially setting off the value radar for Week 7 in game-winner-based NFL pick’em contests. Things are bound to change as kickoffs near, but it’s worth keeping an eye on them.

Jacksonville Jaguars (vs. New York Giants)

Spread: -3.0
Win Odds: 56%
Pick Popularity: 28%

The New York Giants are off to a 5-1 start after a come-from-behind win against Baltimore. Jacksonville, meanwhile, has lost three in a row after its big victory against the Chargers.

Close-game performance is the differentiator here, as New York is 5-1 in one-score games, while Jacksonville is 0-4. But Jacksonville has the slightly better point differential.

The Jaguars are favored, but the public is heavily on New York this week. This makes for another great value play in game-winner pools.

Denver Broncos (vs. New York Jets)

Spread: -3.0
Win Odds: 60%
Pick Popularity: 35%

Although the Denver Broncos are fresh off two overtime losses in a row in primetime games, they’re currently showing up as a value favorite. The 2-4 Broncos are favored over the 4-2 New York Jets, but as you might imagine with those records, the public is all over the Jets in this one.

The Jets have won three in a row, including double-digit-margin wins over Miami and Green Bay. However, their offense hasn’t been rolling. (They were dead even with the Packers in yards and first downs, but they got the biggest play of the game, a punt-block touchdown.)

The Broncos’ offense hasn’t been clicking at all, but their defense has kept them in every game.

We need to monitor the news on Broncos QB Russell Wilson, who reportedly suffered a hamstring injury late in the Monday night game. Whether this ends up being a value may depend on Wilson’s status.

San Francisco 49ers (vs. Kansas City)

Spread: +3.0
Win Odds: 46%
Pick Popularity: 15%

San Francisco is the biggest value underdog play this week when it faces Kansas City.

The 49ers are a true Jekyll-and-Hyde team, capable of beating—and losing—to anyone. They’re a perfectly average 21-21 since the start of the 2020 season, and they have a better record as an underdog (8-6) than as a favorite (13-15).

The public has jumped off San Francisco this week following its loss at Atlanta. But our models like the Niners against the spread in this one, and there’s value on an upset pick here since only 15% are picking them to win.

Indianapolis Colts (at Tennessee Titans)

Spread: +2.5
Win Odds: 46%
Pick Popularity: 20%

The Colts are another unpopular small underdog where you can get some value with the public pick rates. The Colts have 46% win odds, but only 20% of the public is picking them.

It’s somewhat understandable that the public would trust the Titans, as they have beaten the Colts in four straight games, including at Indianapolis earlier this year. But the Colts are coming off their best offensive game (34 points and 29 first downs) and could be getting star RB Jonathan Taylor back this week.

New Orleans Saints (at Arizona Cardinals)

Spread: +1.0
Win Odds: 49%
Pick Popularity: 34%

Our final value pick is the Saints in a toss-up game on Thursday Night Football.

The Saints have put up points despite a myriad of offensive injuries, and we will see who is available on this short week. But the Cardinals have injury issues of their own, and they have struggled far more on offense even before losing WR Marquise Brown and OT Justin Pugh.

With the public going Arizona’s way at a nearly 2-to-1 ratio, there is a decent value proposition on the Saints to start the week.

Tuesday 10/18

Week 6 Results Summary

Week 6 was a hit-or-miss week for our picks, likely with lots of variation in individual pool performance. The spread pools were generally over the public with some key picks hitting, while game-winner pools had some positive (Washington) and negative (Arizona, Cleveland) results that balanced out.

Game-Winner Pools

In game-winner pools, the public averaged 7.0 wins out of 14 games in Week 6, for a .500 record in a week with plenty of big upsets. Four of the seven teams favored by more than a field goal lost outright in Week 6.

Overall, the season-long “Max Profit” picks finished ahead of the public at 7.6 wins. Wins by enough of the smaller favorites there made the difference.

Weekly picks finished down this week at 5.4 wins. Relatively speaking, the more popular smaller favorites won while the ones that were showing the most public value, like Arizona and Cleveland, lost.

Spread Pools

The public was close to .500 in Week 6 in spread pools, averaging 6.9 wins in 14 games. The most popular picks were a mixed bag, with the Chargers failing to cover in overtime and Tampa Bay losing outright, but Cincinnati and Minnesota both got the key plays to win on the road.

Our pick recommendations had another pretty good week in spread pools, averaging 8.9 wins in season-long max-profit picks, two games better than the public. Meanwhile, weekly picks, which tend to also account for public pick popularity more to differentiate, averaged 8.4 wins.

That isn’t as big of a spread from the public as we’ve had in recent weeks, since of some of the popular picks worked out for the public. But the model picks were again generally successful in Week 6.


Important Notes About Picks We Highlight

Keep in mind three things about picks we highlight in this article:

  1. Optimal pick’em contest strategy balances risk and potential reward.
    Maximizing your odds to win a pick’em pool generally requires exploiting the best opportunities to differentiate your picks from your opponents’s picks. Ideally, you want to fade the public while taking on minimal additional pick risk to do so. For example, taking a betting market favorite being picked by less than 50% of your opponents is usually a great opportunity.
  2. Not all of the picks we highlight are suitable for all pools.
    Don’t be surprised if our Football Pick’em Picks product doesn’t recommend several of the picks we mention in this post for your pool specifically—especially the upset picks. The best pick strategy for you depends on a number of factors such as your pool’s size, rules, and prize structure (a concept that’s covered in part by our article on season vs. weekly prize strategy).
  3. Picks we highlight may no longer look compelling by game day.
    We analyze and write about picks using data (e.g. win odds and pick popularity) current at the time we publish this article, but that data can change before kickoff. For example, key player being ruled out or a shift in public sentiment about a team can erase the differentiation value that a pick initially offered.

We’ll provide periodic updates in this post if major data changes occur for picks we’ve mentioned, so make sure to check back. However, there’s a much better way to stay on top of changing data trends throughout a week, which all sharp players need to do.

Our Football Pick’em Picks product automatically imports the latest win odds and pick popularity data multiple times per day. You can see the latest information in the Data Grid.

After you generate customized picks for your pool, you can also update those pick recommendations whenever you want via the My Pool Picks screen. The updated picks will incorporate the most recent data we have.


About Our Pick’em Pool Advice

What makes pick recommendations from our Football Pick’em Picks product different from other sites is that it isn’t generic.

In any given week, the best picks for your football pool depend on a number of variables. Your pool’s size, rules, and prize structure all influence strategy, as do factors like your current place in the standings and how many weeks are left.

So many different scenarios exist that it’s impossible to give pick advice that makes sense for every one. An underrated 6-point underdog could be a great pick in a big weekly prize pool and a terrible pick for a small season-long pool where you’re currently in the money.

Technology to the rescue

As far as we know, we’re the only site that has built algorithms to evaluate all these strategy factors and provide you with customized pick recommendations every week.

The result? Every year, an average of 71% of our subscribers win a prize (season-long or weekly) in a football pick’em contest.

If you want to see all the Week 1 picks we recommend for your football pick’em contest, use our Football Pick’em Picks product.

Why we write this column

At the same time, we know our subscribers like to understand the rationale behind picks our product may recommend, especially when those picks go against the grain. So over the years, we’ve started to write more about the “whys” behind our approach.

This column can also help educate our readers with pick’em pool strategy. We highlight tactics proven to result in more pick’em pool wins over the long term and point out common pitfalls to avoid.

We hope you enjoy reading, and we encourage you to check out more of our football pick’em strategy articles.

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